An Exceptional Year of Growth, Impact, & Innovation
It is with great pride in our industry that I present the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) 2017 Annual Report. Last year was extraordinary. The financial and creative success of the video game industry in 2017 was inspiring.
Mary Meeker, the world’s leading expert on technology and renowned venture capitalist, said in May of 2017 that video games are the “motherlode of tech product innovation, evolution, and modern learning.” Delivered during her annual Internet Trends 2017 presentation, Meeker praised our industry and provided another proof point for what an incredible year 2017 was for video games.
In 2017, gamers delighted in countless awe-inspiring titles from publishers and developers of all stripes. In addition, Microsoft and Nintendo released revolutionary consoles that redefine power and portability, while access to virtual reality soared to new levels as sales of PlayStation VR reached 2 million units. And we all know and celebrate the thousands of developers who delivered magnificent experiences to consumers across the globe on those platforms, as well as on mobile and PC.
The two-thirds of American households and 2.6 billion people around the world that play video games passionately embraced these and other amazing achievements in 2017. Together with the brilliant, creative talent of our industry, they propelled US video game revenue to a record $36 billion, an increase of 18 percent from 2016.
Many of you also likely found 2017 notable for the shift in our nation’s leadership, which greatly changed the political environment in Washington. With the volume and intensity of core industry issues in play at an unprecedented level, ESA proved itself a flexible organization with the foresight and aptitude to represent the industry and protect its interests regardless of who sits in the Oval Office. In Washington and states across the country, we actively engaged and educated executive and legislative leaders across the nation on the power and positive impact of video games.
Thanks to the generous, unified support of the US video game industry at Nite to Unite, the ESA Foundation increased the number of scholarships it awarded to women and minority students in 2017. The foundation also continued to open new doors for American youth through its partnerships with nonprofit video game programs around the country.
As we lead the US industry, ESA knows there are issues where we need to move together collectively as one voice, domestically and internationally. In 2017, ESA welcomed Gearbox Publishing, Triseum, and Legends of Learning as new members, and we strengthened our relationships with video game trade associations in North America, Europe, Australia, Asia, and Africa.
Building stronger relationships with our colleagues around the world in 2017 is helping us in 2018 to present a united front against the World Health Organization’s (WHO) unnecessary plan to classify playing video games too much as a disorder. The International Game Developers Association, Ukie, the Interactive Software Federation of Europe, the Higher Education Video Game Alliance, the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, and the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association have all joined us in calling on the WHO to reverse its course.
The ESRB likewise strengthened international cooperation in 2017, welcoming the Republic of Korea’s Governmental Game Ratings Board (GRAC) as the newest participating rating authority in the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC). With the addition of GRAC, IARC now serves more than 1.5 billion people in North America, Europe, Brazil, Germany, Australia, and South Korea.
ESA is a proud partner of everyone who made 2017 an exceptional year – gamers and those who make video games. In 2017, ESA expanded its efforts to extend and protect the frontiers of the video game industry, helping developers and publishers to create groundbreaking stories and technology that capture the imagination of the world’s gamers.
The best place to capture the world’s imagination is E3, and in 2017, the premiere showcase for video games and technology evolved in powerful, new directions. The energy of E3 2017 reached a fever pitch with the addition of 15,000 gamers, who purchased the event’s new publically available passes, and E3 Coliseum, which gave our new gamer attendees behind-the-scenes access to E3’s biggest announcements and industry visionaries.
The video game industry is home to the most creative talent on the planet, and ESA is eager to advance its interests whenever and wherever possible. We here at ESA consider it a privilege to serve the most dynamic and engaging of all industries and communities and look forward to fostering future years of extraordinary success.
Michael D. Gallagher
President and CEO
Entertainment Software Association